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Modern Relik’s Meg Kimball Shares Her Favorite Things

The owner reflects on the start of her career ahead of a new location opening in the South End.


Photo by Sean Litchfield / Hair and makeup by Laura Dillon/Team

If there’s one thing that Meg Kimball learned from her father, it’s how to bring a space to life. From a young age, Kimball spent hours watching the builder draft floor plans for luxury homes. And although she went on to study economics at Boston College, Kimball couldn’t stay away from design. “It’s within my spirit,” she says. After working for her family’s property-management and development business, Kimball launched Modern Relik—a furniture-design company in Waltham that specializes in contemporary and vintage pieces. Her team dreams up custom items (see: the ’70s-esque “Alta” club chairs), while Kimball scours the globe for treasures like African moonstone plates and seagrass placemats from Bali. “I love things that have a history and are made by hand,” she says.

Nearly five years in, business is booming—so much so that Modern Relik is debuting a new 6,000-square-foot space in SoWa. Still, her success aside, Kimball says the most gratifying part of the job is collaborating with her staff, which includes her sister and one of her sons. “I [love] coming to work every day,” she says.

Ahead, the shop owner shares a collection of things that she treasures.

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Asian-inspired textiles 

I’m obsessed with exotic fabrics and wallcoverings, and I like mixing them together. My dining room is covered in a chinoiserie floral wallpaper from de Gournay that I will never get sick of. I also love the Indian block-printed fabrics from Les Indiennes and the digital papers from Iksel, which are copies of original East India Company patterns.

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African Baskets

The handmade African baskets we’ve curated at Modern Relik are exquisite and practical at the same time. Each of them was woven by artisans in Africa, many taking more than a week to make.

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Saved “Elephant & Friends” Throw

Saved throws and blankets are all made of cashmere, camel hair, [and yak down]. They are like heaven to touch. Some are vibrant and have fantastic motifs, while others are quite muted. The patterns are to die for!

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The Education of a Gardener, by Russell Page

One only has to read The Education of a Gardener to be turned on to landscape gardening. It’s an amazing book that takes you away to European destinations and the stunning gardens designed by Russell Page.

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Painted Floors 

I love white-painted floors or floors painted with a pattern. It’s fresh and chic. I recently painted a black-and-white checkerboard pattern on my living room floor rather than using a rug. I love the feeling of walking barefoot on a hard floor.

ON FILE

What I’m Watching
I just finished binge-watching the Ray Donovan series, which I’m so sad is over. [Otherwise], I’m watching Victoria on Masterpiece (so romantic); Veep (for a great laugh); and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and New York (can’t help it).

What I’m Listening to
We play music all day at work. Currently, I’m loving house music from artists such as Satin Jackets. It sounds like it might be headbanger music, but it’s not. It’s just cool beats and few, if any, words.

What I’m Wearing
I have a very basic wardrobe. Bootleg jeans that are a little tight in the thigh are my go-tos. I wear a lot of black in the winter and white pants in the summer. I always wear Tom Ford “Black Orchid” perfume and feel naked without lipstick. I religiously get a blowout every Tuesday morning, which lasts the workweek—it’s like a facelift without the knife.

What I’m Buying
I love to buy vintage furniture and then lacquer it for a fresh, modern look. I found a cabinet manufactured in Boston in the ’60s. It had a great shape, but the finish was dated, so I transformed it with a gorgeous green color.